Gaurav Arora

Mr. Gaurav Arora, GIM alum, Batch 2013, talks about the joys of being an entrepreneur and how his institute led him in the right direction.

Goa Institute of Management (GIM) has a long list of sterling ambassadors, its alumni who have gone on to carve out their niche in their chosen careers. And then there are some, like Mr. Gaurav Arora, who have fulfilled their dream of turning entrepreneur and finding success in their ventures. He is the Co Founder of SocialPanga, a digital marketing and design services company, which is a result of the culmination of his lifelong interests in marketing and doing things differently. While he was always sure that he wasn’t cut out for a job, the experience at GIM helped him explore new options and meet and learn from some great minds, all of which have had a significant impact on him and helped him grow both professionally and personally.

Gaurav came to GIM right after his graduation. “There are no real numbers to back the theory that it’s better to get work experience before joining an MBA course. You should have a clear idea about your expectations from the course”, he says. Right from childhood, he had been quite fascinated with how marketers are able to sell a product costing Rs. 20 in Rs. 100, and he was quite keen to learn the trick of the trade. “I wanted to find out how brands can gain customer trust and reliability, and in turn become a part of their lives. GIM gave me plenty of opportunities to learn that from interactions with industry leaders, insights from the faculty, and real learning through live projects and case studies. In those terms, I think GIM totally exceeded my expectations”, he says with a smile.

Gaurav also believes that you need to extract the most out of the professional courses offered by the institute, and he did that in good stead throughout his stint at the institute. He was an integral part of several initiatives and a senior core committee member for Ribandar Talks. Reflecting on these experiences, he said, “In a premier college, everyone gets the same level of theoretical learning, but what really sets you apart is your hunger to do more. The best part of Ribandar Talks for me was the opportunity to interact with great minds through casual, candid conversations like the ones I had when I picked them up from the airport, or during panel discussions, etc. It was definitely a game changer for me.”

Though Gaurav always knew that doing a job wasn’t going to be his long term life-plan, but these interactions made him realize that he would need to start thinking out his own venture pretty quickly, if he really wanted to make a niche for himself. “I did work with one of the world’s leading investment firms for close to a year before starting Social Panga. It might seem unusual but it wasn’t difficult for me to give up a cushy job and become an entrepreneur. I wanted to explore more and didn’t want to be stuck in a job; money and the comfort of a job don’t excite me. I wanted to have the rollercoaster journey where you can make magic happen,” he says enthusiastically.

Ask Gaurav about the biggest highs of being an entrepreneur and the challenges he faces and pat comes the reply: “The biggest high is when an employee comes to me and says he or she is loving working with the company. The toughest part is trying to keep the professional and personal commitments balanced, which gets more difficult as the company grows. But I am happy with what we are doing with the company. Digital Marketing is definitely the way forward; in fact, I think it will take over traditional marketing completely. That’s why new age marketer should have a good understanding of all platforms and spends.”

Gaurav believes that with the help of the platform offered to them by the institute, where there are now electives dedicated to social media marketing, today’s students can pick up the fundamentals of digital marketing with ease. He urges them to try out new things while being in the college because it really helps at later stages to not make those mistakes. “My one advice to the students would be to stay ahead of the curve,” he says, thoughtfully. “Do your research on sectors and skills that are going to be the next best thing and work towards them. You will face competition on skills that are popular right now, but by making yourself future proof you will be giving yourself a much needed competitive edge.”

Gaurav also takes the opportunity to let out a secret to students at the institute today. Not many people know that the popular Napster folder, which is still being used to download and share movies and TV series from the hacked library computer, was started by him. These and several other memories at the institute have formed his bond with GIM for life. “It is a great place to meet interesting people and I truly miss my batch mates as I learned a lot from them. I miss the random bike rides, mindless discussions, midnight teas at the cafeteria and our regular hangouts; it was a special time,” he ends on a nostalgic note.